Maybe it’s because I don’t support a big club, but I look at SD Eibar and I like what I see. It’s small, well run, part of the community, yet still prepared to mix it with the larger clubs and bruise a few egos along the way.
Eibar is in the west of Guipuzcoa, on the border with Vizcaya and 25 miles from Bilbao and San Sebastian. It used to be a player in the Spanish steel industry and was renowned for the quality of its handguns & bicycles. However the furnaces & the firearms have long been silent, whilst the wheels have fallen off the local bicycle trade. At its peak in the 1970’s, Eibar had a population of nearly 40,000. Today that figure is nearer 27,000.
In 1940, Deportivo Gallo and Unión Deportiva Eibarresa joined forces to form Sociedad Deportiva Eibar. Their first home was the Campo de Lerum, 5 miles to the north west in Elgoibar, before moving to the Campo de Erdikua in 1943. SD Eibar moved to the present site of Ipurua in 1947. Work began on the central main stand in 1948 and this was finally opened in 1951. Because the ground lies at the bottom of a steep valley, the pitch was prone to flooding and poor drainage. Steps were taken to address this and a new drainage system and pitch levelling was completed in 1959. The ground remained relatively basic throughout the 1960’s, but in 1970 the popular preferente end was covered and the roof of the main stand was extended. The first floodlights were also installed in 1970.
|Hemmed-in, but Eibar get the most out of Ipurua|
|Ipurua in the late 1940's|
|1991 and life in the second tier sees Ipurua get a makeover|
|Ipurua's main stand - April 2011|
In 1998, the club received funding from the local council and ‘Liga de Professional Fútbol’ and started a project to completely remodel Ipurua. The original main stand was demolished and a new, full-length covered stand was constructed. This had a capacity of approximately 2,800, which would be over half of remodelled ground's capacity. In 1999, work started on refurbishing the end stands and finally in 2001, the narrow north terrace was roofed and 4 rows of seats were installed. Work was completed with the installation of a new drainage system and pitch.Today, Ipurua is a modern, if somewhat compact stadium and has a fully seated capacity of 5,250.
Between 1988 and 2009, SD Eibar spent all but one season in La Segunda, achieving a high of fourth in 2004-05. They returned to Segunda B in 2009, clocking-up a series of top 3 finishes. Unfortunately, the play-offs proved to be their Achilles Heel, losing in three successive seasons before finally winning promotion back to the second tier in June 2013. Whether this latest visit will prove to be as successful remains to be seen, but given this club's ability to over-achieve, don't be surprised to see SD Eibar bloody a few noses along the way.
|Ipurua - Pint-sized perfection|